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Systems development approaches - selecting the best way forward

Posted by: The Business Alchemist

Post date: 31 May 2017

There has been a lot of discussion about the role of the Business Analyst when an Agile development approach has been adopted. And, there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not an Agile approach is relevant to some projects.

Given that all approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, it is always interesting to have discussions about this with colleagues from different domains within the IT industry. BCS has incorporated this discussion within the Diploma in Solution Development by requiring candidates to look at the criteria that could be used to decide between the key alternative approaches - which is a good idea more objective than relying on personal preference or bias.

Reflecting on my discussions with colleagues though, it occurred to me that there is a natural preference for certain lifecycles by each specialism. So:

  • Waterfall lifecycle - preferred by project managers
  • V-model - preferred by testers
  • Agile approach - preferred by developers
  • Component Based Development - preferred by solution architects
  • COTS - preferred by procurement managers.

A clear case of different world views based on personal beliefs and values! Therefore, it's not surprising that it is difficult to agree on the best approach.

Perhaps the business analyst is the person to help make this decision. After all, business analysts are required to investigate situations, analyse the requirements, consider the options and recommend a way forward. This feels like a natural fit to me. Also, business analysts are used to challenging 'great ideas' and conventional wisdom, putting forward views that are independent and focus on the business needs. They are concerned with taking a holistic view of the solution and don't have a vested interest in which approach is used to actually deliver the software.

I wonder if there is any situation where business analysis isn't needed.

To help decide the most relevant systems development lifecycle: Developing Information Systems: Practical Guidance for IT Professionals
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